Anxiety and S*%T

The Nervous Poo

Have you ever been in a stressful situation and instantly felt the need to go to the toilet? Or found that you’ve had diarrhoea or constipation during times of stress?

Humans sometimes defecate at times of extreme fear due to the acute stress response – Flight or Fight.

This has everything to do with the Autonomic Nervous System.

The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates heart rate, digestion, respiration, digestion, arousal and urination… This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response and its role is mediated by two different components.

Sympathetic nervous system: shuts down the digestive system and accelerates the heart rate, constricts some blood vessels, dilates others, Tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, inhibition of erection, and relaxation of the bladder and bowels.

Parasympathetic nervous system: responsible for putting the body “at rest” and for recovery. Activates digestion, regulates heart rate and respiratory system…

When a human is faced with a life/death moment, or what is perceived as one, urination and defecation is a way to “lighten the load” to be more efficient with the fight or flight response. It’s an unconscious reaction from fear thats strategic and practical.


Essentially the brain is in a state of extreme stress – so is the gut (and generally vice versa). BUT the great news is there are ways to manage it!

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance. Taking small steps daily to manage your anxiety and keep your gut healthy and balanced is key.

Some daily Practices to help manage Anxiety are:

  • Try new breathing strategies – Lots of anxiety symptoms involve a cycle of physical sensations. Working on controlling your breathing is a good way to try to interrupt that cycle
  • Meditate – Even if its just for 5 minutes a day.
  • Self Care – Eat Well, get enough sleep and stay active
  • Practise Gratitude – Taking a moment in your morning to acknowledge 5 things your grateful for in your life. Gratitude interrupts anxiety.
  • Talk to someone – Talk to a professional to gain tools to help you manage your symptoms.
  • One of the main (not so mainstream) strategies we believe in here at pH Clinic is Colonic Hydrotherapy.


One of the many benefits of colonics is that they clean out old waste and toxins from your body, which dramatically reduces the stress on your system. Colonics will relax your intestinal nervous system and that, of course, will rest all the other systems of your body.

Not to mention, removing bad intestinal bacteria and re-adding the good guys with probiotics can alter the way you process emotional information, resulting in anti-anxiety and mood-enhancing effects.

At pH Clinic we have clients who have experienced profound psychological shifts after their Colonic treatments. With many people having bursts of energy, feeling generally happier/lighter and some people finding an overall decrease in their anxious state from their regular colonics over a longer period of time.

One thing’s for sure, the Mind – Gut Connection is extremely strong and can’t be denied.

GAPS – Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome

In 2004 Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride created the term “GAPS” – Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome after working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as Autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, Depression, OCD and many other neurological and psychiatric problems.

GAPS is explained as a condition, which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system, the brain and the immune system. 

pHClinic Team

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